This Toolkit is released as an online beta version. Teachers are invited to share their experiences in using this Toolkit by emailing one of the project contacts.

This project analyzed how the local population lived together with different ethnicities in a European town in the immediate past. It has shown how and why certain groups of the population behaved in a specific way. Given that historical events are unique, there are still some patterns and elements that keep repeating themselves throughout history. The project aimed at identifying those patterns, to avoid similar developments and errors in the future and to achieve a successful integration of minorities. The analysis focused on the treatment of minorities in the city over a period of time. Students had an opportunity to learn about active and passive violations of human rights violations of minorities living in Porz by reviewing political means, laws, etc. that lead to a gap between the local population and the minorities.




Planning of the project: forming a supervising team: Setting the thematic frame

Nov. 2008 – Feb. 2009: 2 hours

Search for adequate sources

Contacting archives, institutions and interview partners

Dealing with contact people:

availability of sources and competent people

data use rights and data protection

fields of research for the students

Mar. 2009 – Jun. 2009: 4 weeks

Meeting of the supervising team

Deciding on

the topic (minorities in Cologne Porz)

the subtopics (Jews, Africans, prisoners of war, forced laborers, Belgians, Turks, Russians)

the teachers involved in the project

the participating groups of learners

the steps in the work process

the timetable

Apr. 2009 – Jul. 2009: 2 hours

Kick off meeting

information about the topic, the steps in the work process, the time frame

definition of the concept of “minorities“

connect to human rights

Supervising team, students participating:

Introduction through the supervising team

working on the topic, discussion

research in groups: identifying, explaining and commenting on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as starting point of the project

making regular checks of the work and discuss the projects with individuals

May 2009: 1 day

Working on the subtopics in the separate project groups

Researching violations of the rights of specific minority groups in Cologne-Porz:

Identifying specific examples of human rights violations.

Researching  the causes of the violations

  • how / why they started
  • what happened
  • how human rights were violated

Analyzing primary source materials and online sources:

Analyzing historical sources and texts.

Working with press databases (GBI, Lexis-Nexis)

Online research (newspaper archives)

Interviewing witnesses and experts

Aerial photographs

Image databases

Excursions, visiting sights

Publishing during the research

Presentation of the project to the press (Kick off, meeting the participants and organizations involved).

Research (visiting places, interviews with witnesses and experts).

Providing access to publications of documents, articles, television documentaries etc.

Publishing the results of the separate research groups on the school website.

Working on the results

Restriction to the thematic focus.

Summarizing the results.

Choosing adequate pictures.

Analyzing aerial photos.

Working on graphical representations.

Saving the results in Word, Excel and image files.

Summarizing the results

Coordinating the results.

Checking for plausibility and validity.

Checking the copyrights.

Documenting the project: overview of the adequate measures

Sharing experiences with others: preparing the digital sources for future use in class


Setting up a digital archive on the school’s website.

Setting up tasks for selected sources:

e.g. 4.1.03 „A case study – Forced foreign labour at the Aero Stahl steel-factory“

Aug. 2009 – Nov. 2009: 3 months

Final workshop: summarizing the results - presenting and publishing the results

Working on the group results

restriction to the thematic focus

summarizing the results of the different groups

saving the results in Word, Excel and image files

Summarizing the results

coordinating the group results

checking for plausibility and validity

documenting the project: overview of the adequate measures


Connect the research “Minorities and integration in Porz – Illusion and reality” to human rights

Comparing the results of the project with the systematic structure of the Charter of Fundamental Rights -

Examples where human rights were violated:

Violation of dignity

Violation of freedom

Violation of equality

Violation of solidarity

Violation of Citizen's Rights

Violation of justice

Suggesting ways in which these violations could be stopped in the future.

Dec. 2009 – Jan. 2010: 3 days


designing a layout for the website

checking the data volume  and the resulting costs with the internet provider

content management: changing Word, Excel and image files into HTML

providing links to internal and external sources

power point presentation and handouts for a presentation of the project at conferences, school assemblies, or lectures organized by

minority organizations

mailing off-line versions of the website to archives and other institutions and organizations

Feb. 2010 – Mar. 2010

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a. Content and Context

  • The students will analyze how people in Porz have treated minorities and what kind of experience members of minorities have had in Porz.
  • They will find out why Jewish life came to an end in Porz during the Nazi era of terror.
  • They will learn how people from all over Europe, Africa, and Russia were made to do forced labor.
  • They will analyze what measures were taken by the local city council

b. Pedagogical/Didactic Aims
The project will provide:

  • insight into the factors that favour xenophobic behavior and thus lead to a violation of human rights
  • information about minorities in ghettos, camps, certain areas of towns, including isolation by the general popula-tion in some cases and a rejection of the surrounding culture in other cases
  • a heightened awareness discrimination of minorities through visual stigmata, like Star of David, forced change of name, rejection of cultural heritage, like rejection of mosques or synagogues, xenophobic propaganda.
  • insight into the factors that lead to a gap between the local population and the migrants

The project can be transferred to other fields of study and other groups of learners as:
Providing a direct experience of situations described in textbooks.
Inspiring those involved to investigate other topics with a similar methodical approach and a similar thematic focus.

Methodological Approaches
The participants in this project need to be groups of learners whose timetables allow a cooperation of different subjects and their respective methodology, in this case: German, History, Social Studies, and Geography.
The results of the project will be summarized by a representative of each group and each subject.
A team of students will organize and oversee the project by publishing a “roadmap” with the deadlines for each step in the progress of the project.
The results will finally be published on the Internet.

Further outcomes of the project
Those students who have investigated the problem of the Jewish population and the forced laborers in Cologne Porz are planning to write a play based on the experiences and insights they gained throughout the project.

Practical Challenges Faced by the Coordinators and Resolution Strategies
The major practical challenge of this project was providing the organizational frame of the project as it needed to be integrated into normal school days.  The different groups of students needed to organize their work independently between Spring 2009 and Spring 2010, and then share and exchange their group results before the project’s results could be published.

Technical Equipment Requirements (if applicable)

  • historical photographs and documents from the archive
  • working with metal detectors and GPS
  • measuring
  • scanning documents
  • software: (MS-Office, Frontpage, Mindmanager, Abobe, Photoshop), Acrobat Writer

Primary Source Materials and Online Resources
Interview with a contemporary of the Third Reich: please see Annex 1.

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Minorities in Cologne – Porz

Title of the Project
Minorities in Cologne-Porz (1870 – 2009)

Name of the Coordinator
Ernst-Joachim Hindrichs

Name of the School

Maximilian-Kolbe-Gymnasium, Cologne,

EU Member State


Number of Students Involved and their ages/grades
Year. 09 (age 15): 32 Students / 30 Students (subject: history)
Year 10 (age 16): 30 Students (subject: history)
Year 11 (age 17): 25 Students (subject: social studies)
Year 13 (age 19): 20 Students (subject: geography)

Involvement of Advisors and/or Other Institutions (if applicable)
The project is designed to involve various public and private institutions in the research. Even though some of these institutions don’t offer immediate practical support, they provide and maintain a platform for discussions that aim at creating awareness of the problems of minorities and migrants.

Practical Suggestions (possible institutions)

  • regional and communal archives
  • non-profit institutions and organizations (history club, self-help groups, groups, charities and other non-profit organizations)
  • department of immigration at the town council with its offices
  • local politicians and organizations: representatives of minorities and their organizations
  • local press: local newspapers, press office of political parties, unions and other organizations

Partners in the project “Minorities in Cologne / Porz“

  • Bezirksregierung Münster, Dez. 46.02, Theo Schwedmann (district government)
  • Bundeswehr – Standortkommandantur der der Luftwaffe in Köln-Porz (German Airforce, local commander)
  • Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz (German Foundation for the Preservation of Historical Buildings)
  • Historisches Archiv, Köln (Historical Archive of Cologne),
  • Geschichts- und Heimatverein „Rechtsrheinisches Köln“ (History Club)
  • Jüdisches Museum, Berlin (Jewish Museum Berlin),
  • Kirchenarchiv St. Josef, Porz (Church Archive, St. Josef)
  • Scientific Consulting, Bonn
  • Stadtarchiv Porz, Köln (Town Archive, Porz)
  • Yad Vashem
  • European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights